Rabbi Levi Shmotkin inspired me.
He is a dear friend of mine, a Chabad Rabbi in New York City, working with Jewish young professionals.
A few weeks ago, he shared with me that he believes he had the Coronavirus. He suffered from various symptoms and lost his smell and taste.
When he heard that Mount Sinai hospital is looking for people who recovered from Covid19 to donate plasma, he didn’t think twice. After going through an antibody test that confirmed that he has rather high levels of antibodies, he donated plasma that was then used to treat sick patients.
I am sure you will agree with me that he did – and many other thousands of people who did the same – was a great Mitzvah.
But there are some deep lessons here for our lives too.
Think about it. All those who donated Plasma were previously victims themselves. They had to battle this horrible disease.
Then, they recovered. Now they are survivors. They could have simply said “oh great, thank G-d we survive” and go one with their lives.
Most people are stuck on that level.
You see, we all face challenges in our lives. And I am not referring to the simple ones (anyone mentioned toilet paper?), but some serious challenges. Poverty, bullying, loss, abandonment.
While we battle the challenge, we are still victims. Once the challenge is over, we become survivors. We did it. We manage to persevere. We won the battle.
And this is where most people get stuck.
The plasma donor, however, managed to do something extraordinary: to take his or her challenge and use it to help others overcome their own challenge. They are not only survivors, they are actually agents of change; their own success story becomes the success story of other people, too.
And maybe, just maybe, G-d gave them this challenge so they can schlep others out of the mud?
What a powerful idea.
We are all survivors of the challenges we faced in our lives. But together with surviving, G-d gave us antibodies. We now have something to share, a unique gift that can help others. So let’s use it to inspire and help those in need.